(WFSB) – At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and food insecurity is growing, grocery store prices are beginning to rise.
Last month, grocery store prices had the biggest monthly increase since 1974.
Economists say the increase is due to supply and demand. The demand products like meat and eggs has increased, but it’s more difficult to get your hands on them.
“There’s going to be some pain for consumers. It’s not about profit taking, it is about supply chain disruption,” said Wayne Pesce, CT Food Association.
Meat and eggs are up four percent, vegetables are up more than one percent, and bread prices are up too.
At a time when most Americans are hoping to line their wallets, they’re spending more at the grocery store.
“The demand has shifted. Households have shifted. They’ve shifted their habits from food away from home. You’ve took out half of the budget,” said Professor Rigoberto Lopez, University of Connecticut.
Experts say grocers aren’t doing this to be greedy. With an increase demand for labor, shortages at meat plants, and an overall demand for basic staples, they say they don’t have a choice.
“I want to make sure people go into Memorial Day and they go into Stew Leonard’s and they go, ‘wow, look at all the ground beef they have,’” said Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of Stew Leonard’s.
Big Y just announced a freeze in their prices.
Channel 3 asked viewers whether their habits have changed because of the increase. Some people say their shopping habits can’t change because of dietary restrictions. Other say they have no choice but to put some items back on the shelf.
Economists say this won’t last forever.
“It’s not going to last. This is short term pain,” Pesce said.
Overall, Americans paid 2.6 percent more for groceries in April.